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4655.0 - Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts, 2014 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/04/2014  First Issue
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1 This Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts (AEEA) contains accounts for key environmental themes. The style of the AEEA differs from the earlier ABS publications that applied environmental accounts to particular environmental issues, like green growth, sustainability and adapting to climate change. This issue-based approach was used in Completing the Picture - Environmental Accounting in Practice (cat. no. 4628.0.55.001) and Towards the Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts (cat. no. 4655.0.55.002). In contrast the AEEA is data focused, with minimal interpretation or analysis.

2 In the AEEA, accounts are provided for environmental assets, energy products, water, waste, GHG emissions, environmental taxes and land cover. Throughout the publication, tables and data are presented to emphasise socioeconomic aspects of environmental themes-either as drivers of environmental pressures, or as part of the policy response to these pressures. The publication highlights the capacity of environmental accounts to support analyses across various environmental themes and also between environmental and economic themes. For a full list of the statistics contained in this publication see List of tables. Where available, a time series of information has been provided for each of the environmental themes. As the ABS has developed its environmental accounting program incrementally, the different accounts have time series of varying lengths. A summary of work undertaken by the ABS in the area of environmental accounting is provided below. Information about the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) Central Framework, which provides the conceptual framework of the AEEA, also appears below. References are also made to related ABS environmental accounts publications for further guidance on data sources, concepts and estimation methodologies. Please see the Glossary for brief definitions and descriptions of terms used in the AEEA.


3 The AEEA is based on the SEEA Central Framework. The SEEA Central Framework is a conceptual framework designed to support understanding and measurement of the interactions between the economy and the environment, and the stocks and changes in stocks of environmental assets. The SEEA Central Framework was adopted by the UN Statistical Commission as an international statistical standard in 2012.

4 The SEEA Central Framework uses a systems approach to organise environmental and economic information, covering, as completely as possible, the stocks and flows that are relevant to the analysis of environmental and economic issues. In using this approach, the SEEA Central Framework applies the accounting concepts, structures, rules and principles of the System of National Accounts (SNA). In practice, environmental-economic accounting includes the compilation of physical supply and use tables, functional accounts (such as environmental taxation accounts and environmental expenditure accounts), and asset accounts for natural resources.

5 The integration of information concerning the economy and the environment is an interdisciplinary exercise. The SEEA Central Framework brings together, within one measurement system, information on water, minerals, energy, timber, fish, soil, land and ecosystems, pollution and waste, production, consumption and accumulation. Each of these areas has specific and detailed measurement approaches that are integrated in the SEEA Central Framework to provide a comprehensive view.

6 The SEEA Central Framework provides a foundation for related topic and theme specific statistical publications. A SEEA module related to water (‘SEEA-Water’) has been in operation since 2007, and modules related to energy and to agriculture and land are under development.

7 The SEEA Central Framework is accompanied by two additional parts: SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting, and SEEA Extensions and Applications. SEEA Experimental Ecosystem Accounting provides the basis for the development of ecosystem accounting at the national and sub-national levels. SEEA Extensions and Applications presents various monitoring and analytical approaches that could be adopted using SEEA-based information.


8 The ABS first published environmental accounts in 1995, beginning with monetary estimates for a number of environmental assets within scope of the SNA asset boundary. In particular, estimates for subsoil assets(footnote 1) and forests and land were developed within the ABS national accounts area and these are now an established feature of the national balance sheet within the Australian System of National Accounts. Also during the 1990’s the ABS commenced a program of environmental accounts development within its environmental statistics area and this program continues to drive the development of these accounts within the ABS - often in partnership with other agencies.


Reference years for which accounts are available
Account type
Year First published
Frequency or status
Physical stock
Monetary stock
Physical flow
Monetary flow

1988-89 to
1988-89 to
2005-06 to
1988-89 to
1988-89 to
1993-94 to
2008-09 to
1985 to 1996
1993-94 to
2008-09 to
2008-09 to
2012; 2013
from 2012

(a) Land cover and use accounts are prepared for each state on a rotating schedule, with each state covered once in three years.

9 The table above summarises the range of environmental accounts produced by the ABS and broadly indicates, for each environmental domain, what types of accounts have been produced, their status, and reference years for which data are available.


10 Estimates of the value of some environmental assets are included in the Australian System of National Accounts (ASNA) (cat. no. 5204.0) in inventories (e.g. plantation forests) and non-produced capital (e.g. land, minerals, timber in native forests), and are produced according to the SNA. The definition, classification, scope and valuation of environmental assets contained in AEEA is defined by the SEEA Central Framework. What the SEEA Central framework defines as environmental assets are in other contexts referred to as natural capital.


11 SEEA defines environmental assets as being "the naturally occurring living and non-living components of the Earth, together comprising the bio-physical environment that may provide benefits to humanity". Within the SEEA, assets are measured in both physical and monetary terms, whereas the SNA relates only to monetary information.

12 The notion of environmental assets used in this publication are consistent with the SEEA definition and has the potential to include:
  • Mineral and energy resources
      • Oil resources
      • Natural gas resources
      • Coal and peat resources
      • Non-metallic mineral resources (excluding coal and peat resources)
      • Metallic mineral resources
  • Land
  • Soil resources
  • Timber resources
      • Cultivated timber resources
      • Natural timber resources
  • Aquatic resources
      • Cultivated aquatic resources
      • Natural aquatic resources
  • Other biological resources (excluding timber resources and aquatic resources)
      • Water resources
      • Surface water
      • Groundwater
  • Soil water

13 Monetary valuation of environmental assets is applied only to those assets meeting the SNA definition of an asset. SNA defines an asset as "a store of value representing a benefit or a series of benefits accruing to the economic owner by holding or using the entity over a period of time. It is a means of carrying forward value from one accounting period to another". The SNA and the SEEA Central Framework support consistent monetary valuation of environmental assets.


14 In practice, the environmental assets included in the AEEA are land, mineral and energy assets and timber. Research is currently underway to extend the range of environmental assets for which monetary estimates can be generated (e.g. for water), but these are not yet available.

15 For estimates of mineral and energy assets, the ABS has adopted Australia’s National Classification System for Mineral Resources (Geoscience Australia) to assign physical and monetary stocks based on Economic Demonstrated Resources (EDR) data.

16 EDRs are resources judged to be economically extractable and for which the quantity and quality are computed partly from specific measurements, and partly from extrapolation for a reasonable physical distance on geological evidence. ABS mineral and energy asset stocks align with Australia’s National Classification System for Mineral Resources.

17 The physical asset account contained within the AEEA includes the following assets:
  • Subsoil - Energy
      • Natural Gas
      • Crude oil
      • Condensate
      • Liquid Petroleum Gas
      • Black Coal
      • Brown Coal
      • Uranium
  • Subsoil - Mineral
      • Copper
      • Gold
      • Antimony
      • Iron Ore
      • Lead
      • Silver
      • Cadmium
      • Nickel
      • Zinc
      • Bauxite
      • Diamonds
      • Lithium
      • Magnesite
      • Limenite
      • Rutile
      • Zircon
      • Platinum
      • Cobalt
      • Rare earths
      • Tin

18 Monetary asset accounts contained within the AEEA include estimates for:
  • Land
  • Subsoil - Energy
      • Natural gas
      • Crude oil
      • Condensate
      • LPG
      • Black Coal
      • Uranium
  • Subsoil - Mineral
      • Copper, Gold and Antimony
      • Bauxite
      • Iron ore
      • Lead, Zinc, Silver and Cadmium
      • Nickel, Platinum and Cabolt
      • Other minerals
  • Timber
      • Plantation
      • Native Standing

Further information on environmental assets

19 Further information on data sources, concepts, and methods underpinning monetary and physical estimates of environmental assets can be found in Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods (cat. no. 5216.0).


20 Water Account Australia (WAA) was developed using the SEEA Central Framework and SEEA-Water. Water supply and use tables provide a framework to link core components of the national accounts to physical information. Physical data are presented in supply and use tables, while linkages to economic data are also made.

Physical supply and use of water

21 The physical supply and use of water tables measure in physical terms (megalitres) the supply and use of all water within the Australian economy. The tables relate to freshwater and include the following categories of water: self-extracted, distributed, in-stream use and reuse.

22 The water tables include the following socioeconomic units:
  • individuals and companies that directly extract water from surface water and groundwater sources for their own use (e.g. domestic, industrial, agricultural or other uses);
  • households, government and businesses that use water supplied by water providers for domestic, industrial, agricultural or other uses;
  • water providers that extract water from surface water, groundwater and sea water for desalination, and supply it to customers for use (e.g. domestic, industrial, or other use). The majority of water providers are in the water supply, sewerage and drainage services industry (ANZSIC 281) but the mining, manufacturing, and electricity and gas supply industries also supply a small amount of water; and
  • water providers that provide reuse water to their customers; other large organisations who treat water and make it available for subsequent reuse; other large organisations who discharge water directly to the environment (e.g. power stations, mines); and major in-stream water users, for example aquaculture and hydro-electricity generation, where this information is available.

23 Items not covered by the water tables include:
  • the volume of rainwater used by agricultural crops/pastures that are directly rain fed;
  • discharges to the environment resulting from the run-off of irrigation water;
  • the reuse/recycling of water on-farm or on-site (i.e. within homes or businesses);
  • household water consumption from rainwater tanks (for households connected to mains supply);
  • non-point/diffuse discharges; and
  • the impact of storm water infiltration into the sewerage reticulation system.

Water consumption and water use

24 Water consumption is that part of water use not distributed to other economic units and does not return to the environment (to water resources, sea or ocean) because during use it has been incorporated into products, evaporated, transpired or otherwise consumed by households or businesses. The following accounting identities have been used:
  • Total water use is equal to the sum of distributed water use, self-extracted water use and reuse water use;
  • Water consumption is equal to the sum of distributed water use, self-extracted water use and reuse water use less water supplied to other users and less in-stream use. The use of distributed water by the environment is not included in total water consumption.

25 For most industries, water use and water consumption are the same, as most industries do not have in-stream use, nor do they typically supply water to other users. However, water consumption and use will vary considerably for some industries, specifically the water supply, sewerage and drainage services industry, electricity and gas supply industry and mining industry, where in-stream water use and water supply volumes are significant.

Monetary supply and use of water

26 The monetary supply and use of water tables measure in monetary terms the supply and use of water within the Australian economy. Estimates are also provided for the supply and use of sewerage, waste water and drainage services (also referred to as water related services).

27 Monetary aggregates are provided for:
  • supply of distributed water and water related services in the economy by the water supply, sewerage and drainage services, mining, manufacturing, and electricity and gas supply industries; and
  • expenditure on water and water related services by industries, households and governments.

28 The scope of monetary estimates is limited to distributed water, reuse water and waste water, sewerage and drainage services. No estimates are made of the value of self-extracted water. Further, the scope is limited to 'net distributed water' which, is defined as water that has been supplied from one economic unit to another for a fee, creating a measurable economic transaction. Net distributed water excludes distribution losses and supply to the environment for which there is no matching economic transaction.

Gross value of irrigated agricultural production

29 Gross value of irrigated agricultural production (GVIAP) relates to the gross value of agricultural commodities produced with the assistance of irrigation. The gross value of commodities produced is the value placed on recorded production using wholesale prices as realised in the marketplace. This definition of GVIAP does not refer to the value that irrigation adds to production, or the 'net effect' that irrigation has on production.

Further information on water

30 For a detailed discussion of concepts, data sources and methods used in the water tables and of the methods used for calculating water supply and use (both physical and monetary) please refer to the explanatory notes of the Water Account Australia (cat. no. 4610.0). Similarly, a more detailed discussion of concepts, sources and methods used in the compilation of GVIAP can be found in the explanatory notes of Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production 2011-12 (cat. no. 4610.0.55.008).


31 Energy Account Australia (EAA) uses the SEEA as the basis for its conceptual framework.

Supply and use of energy

32 Energy tables in the AEEA record the physical supply and use of energy products within the Australian economy. Supply of energy includes both direct extraction of energy products (including renewables) and imports of energy products. The use of energy products relates to use by Australian industry, households and governments - including inventory changes and energy products used by non-residents (exports). The monetary supply and use of energy tables record monetary values for those flows where market (or near-market) transactions occur.

33 All energy accounts in the AEEA are compiled on a residence basis and therefore the national boundary relates to the activities of Australian resident units.

34 Energy flow accounts have been presented on a ‘net’ basis in this publication. Net measures of energy consider conversion losses associated with transforming one form of energy into another form. In this way, estimates for total net energy use avoid double-counting the amount of converted primary energy.

35 The net use of energy table records the different energy products consumed for final purposes (final use of energy plus energy losses due to conversions) and supplied to the rest of the world (exports), along with inventory changes. The main accounting identity underlying the net flow accounts for energy is:

36 Supply (imports + direct extraction) = Use (exports + final use of energy + energy losses due to conversions + inventory changes)

37 This accounting identity is valid only for the sum of all energy products in the economy and not for individual energy products. This is because the net supply table balances all energy use, whereas supply of an individual product will generally not equal use of that product due to losses and transformations.

38 Data contained in the net supply and use tables are used to compile time series of energy intensity. In concept, net supply and use of energy products most closely matches measures of monetary supply and use of energy.

Energy products

39 The energy supply and use tables include the following energy products (though not all products are separately identifiable):
  • Black coal;
  • Brown coal;
  • Coal by-products (including blast furnace gas, coal tar, benzene/toluene/xylene feedstock and coke oven gas);
  • Brown coal briquettes;
  • Metallurgical coke;
  • Natural gas (includes coal seam gas);
  • Crude oil and feedstocks (including refinery feedstock, ethane and other petrochemical feedstocks);
  • Propane, butane, LPG;
  • Petrol;
  • Diesel;
  • Other refined products (including aviation turbine fuel, aviation gasoline, kerosene, heating oil, and fuel oil);
  • Biofuels (including ethanol, biodiesel, landfill and sludge biogas, and other biofuels);
  • Wood and wood waste;
  • Bagasse;
  • Electricity;
      • solar electricity
      • wind electricity
      • hydro-electricity
      • other (i.e. that generated from fossil fuels)
  • Solar hot water; and
  • Uranium


40 Industry classification used in the presentation of supply and use of energy follow the 2006 edition of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industry Classification (ANZSIC). The following industry breakdown is used in the energy tables of the AEEA.
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing;
  • Mining;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Construction;
  • Transport;
  • Electricity, gas, water supply and waste services; and
  • Commercial and services.

Energy assets, in petajoules

41 Energy assets measured in petajoules (PJ), utilise the same scope as used for monetary valuation of energy assets in the AEEA, that is, EDR as defined in Australia's National Classification System for Mineral Resources (Geoscience Australia). The AEEA estimates of energy assets measured in petajoules are generated by Geoscience Australia.

42 Estimates of energy content is provided for the following assets:
  • Black Coal
  • Brown Coal
  • Crude oil (includes condensate)
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas
  • Natural gas (excludes shale gas and includes Coal Seam Gas for 2008-09 and 2009-10 only)
  • Uranium.

Further Information on energy

43 For a detailed discussion of sources and methods used in the energy tables, including energy assets measured in petajoules please refer to the explanatory notes of Energy Account Australia 2011-12 (cat. no. 4604.0).


44 Information on Waste has been gathered from multiple sources and organised using the principles of the SEEA Central Framework to produce Waste Account Australia Experimental Estimates (WAAEE), 2013 (cat. no. 4602.0.55.005).

Physical supply and use of solid waste

45 The WAAEE records the total supply of solid waste products within the economy (including imports) and the total use of solid waste products within the economy (including exports). The supply and use methodology underpinning the data presented here is based on the fundamental economic identity that supply of products equal use of products.

46 The SEEA defines solid waste as “discarded materials that are no longer required by the owner or user”. Where the unit discarding the materials receives no payment for the materials, the flow is considered a residual flow of solid waste. Where the unit discarding the materials receives a payment, but the actual residual value of the material is small, such as in the case of scrap metal sold to a recycling firm, this flow is considered a product flow of solid waste.

47 The physical supply and use of waste tables include the following waste materials:
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Glass
  • Plastics
  • Metals
  • Organics
  • Masonry
  • Electrical and Electronic
  • Hazardous
  • Leather and Textiles
  • Tyres and other Rubber
  • Timber and Wood products
  • Inseparable/unknown

48 The following waste materials are out of scope of the physical supply and use of waste tables:
  • Liquid waste
  • Radioactive waste
  • Mineral waste from the mining industry
  • Wastewater (untreated effluent, sewage water and trade waste).
  • Emissions
  • Fly ash
  • Fishing waste

49 The industry classification used in the physical supply and use of waste tables follow the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification, 2006 (ANZSIC) (cat. no. 1292.0). The waste management services industry comprises ANZSIC Division D, subdivision 29 and the waste management activities of local governments.

50 The industry described as ‘Services’ in the physical supply and use of waste tables is an aggregation of the following industries:
  • Wholesale trade
  • Retail trade
  • Accommodation and Food Services
  • Transport, Postal and Warehousing
  • Information Media and Telecommunications
  • Financial and Insurance Services
  • Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  • Administrative and Support Services
  • Public Administration and Safety - excluding Class 7530
  • Education and Training
  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Arts and Recreation Services
  • Other Services

51 The Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) stream is a data source used to estimate household waste. MSW covers both direct waste collection (e.g. kerbside collection of recycling and waste to landfill) and indirect waste collection (e.g. householder drop-off at transfer stations) from households.

Monetary supply and use of solid waste

52 The monetary supply and use of waste tables present aggregates in monetary terms ($million) for the supply and use of waste goods and services within the Australian economy. Monetary supply and use tables record economic transactions associated with the income generated by the supply of waste management services and sales of recovered waste material and expenditure on the use of waste management services and purchase of recovered waste material.

53 The monetary supply and use of waste tables record the following items:
  • Income and expenditure ($million) relating to waste management services (non-recyclable, recyclable)
  • Income from sales ($million) of recyclable/recoverable material (paper and cardboard, organic material, metals, other)
  • Imports and exports ($million) of waste material (paper and cardboard, organic material, metals, other)

Data sources

54 Data on the physical supply and use of waste are primarily derived from the report Waste and Recycling in Australia (WRiA) 2011 commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Environment (DoE). The WRiA reports solid waste and recycling data published by the states, territories and industry for the 2008-09 financial year. It presents data on the recycling of solid waste, energy recovery from solid waste, and the disposal of solid waste to landfill. The report presents data by material category and material type in terms of solid waste streams. The ABS has used the principles and structures of the SEEA to transform this data into a data framework able to support linkages between waste supply, waste use and the various economic aggregates contained in the Australian system of national accounts.

Further Information on waste

55 For a detailed discussion of data sources used in the waste tables and of methods used to calculate waste supply and use (both monetary and physical) please refer to the explanatory notes contained in the WAAEE 2013.


56 Estimates of direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions contained in this publication are presented according to SEEA guidelines. In particular, the SEEA recommends converting the territory-based GHG emissions inventories produced according to UNFCCC guidelines onto a residence basis. When following the residence principle, the geographic boundary of a country is determined by the activities of economic units resident in that country.

57 The scope of GHG emissions included in this publication includes all emissions under the UNFCCC, and as defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These include energy sectors (including stationary energy and transport); industrial processes; solvent and other product use; agriculture; waste; and land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF).

58 The primary data source for estimates of inventories of GHG emissions by industry and households in Australia is the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIICCSRTE) publication Australian National Greenhouse Accounts - National Inventory by Economic Sector, 2010-11. The DIICCSRTE notion of economic sector is consistent with ANZSIC.

59 DIICCSRTE produces its Australian National Greenhouse Accounts according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). GHG Emissions compiled on this basis are recorded using the territory principle. When using the territory principle, GHG emissions occurring within the geographic boundary of a country are attributed to that country.

60 The adjustments required to convert the presentation of data onto a SEEA (residence) basis relate to emissions attributed to travellers while abroad, and international bunkering (related to international transport, principally shipping and aircraft).

61 Within the AEEA, direct GHG emissions estimates relate to the following gases:
  • carbon dioxide
  • methane
  • nitrous dioxide
  • synthetic gases (HFCs, SF6, CF4, C2F6)

62 Direct GHG emissions figures relate to the following industries and to households:
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing
  • Mining
  • Manufacturing
  • Electricity, gas, water and waste services
  • Construction
  • Transport
  • Commercial and services.

Direct emissions

63 Direct emissions are produced from sources within the boundary of an organisation and as a result of that organisation’s activities. These emissions mainly arise from the following activities:
  • generation of energy, heat, steam and electricity, including carbon dioxide and products of incomplete combustion (methane and nitrous oxide);
  • manufacturing processes which produce emissions (for example, cement, aluminium and ammonia production);
  • transportation of materials, products, waste and people; for example, use of vehicles owned and operated by the reporting organisation;
  • fugitive emissions: intentional or unintentional GHG releases (such as methane emissions from coal mines, natural gas leaks from joints and seals); and
  • on-site waste management, such as emissions from landfill sites.

Emissions factors

64 Direct emission factors give the kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) emitted per unit of activity at the point of emission release (i.e. fuel use, energy use, manufacturing process activity, mining activity, on-site waste disposal, etc.). All factors are standardised by being expressed as a carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e). This is achieved by multiplying the individual gas emission factor by the respective gas global warming potential (GWP).

65 For a more detailed discussion of the emissions factors please refer to the DIICSRTE publication Australian National Greenhouse Accounts - National Inventory by Economic Sector, 2010-11.

SEEA-related adjustments

66 In order to represent GHG emissions information on a SEEA basis, two adjustments to UNFCCC-based data are made:
  • An adjustment related to international travellers abroad is based on the Tourism Satellite Account(footnote 2) . Direct emissions related to road transport activities by residents abroad are added to Australian inventories, while emissions related to non-residents within Australian territory are subtracted; and
  • a second adjustment related to international bunkering - fuel used by international transport operators (primarily marine and aviation). This adjustment involves the addition to inventories of relevant GHG emissions produced by resident operators and the subtraction of GHG emissions produced by non-resident operators.


67 SEEA defines environmental taxes as "those taxes which have a tax base with a proven negative impact on the environment", thereby increasing the price on activities and products that are harmful to the environment.

68 Environmental taxes include taxes on production and imports, capital taxes and current taxes on income and wealth. Environmental taxes contained in this publication relate to energy and to transport. The Carbon Pricing Mechanism ('Carbon tax') and the Mineral Resource Rent Tax came into operation on 1 July 2012. The data included in the AEEA pre-date the introduction of these taxes.

69 The estimates of environmental taxes contained in the AEEA are presented by type of tax, and by paying industry and households. Specifically, estimates of environmental taxes contained in this publication relate to the following types of taxes:
  • Crude oil and LPG
  • Renewable Energy Targets (RETs) / Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)
  • Ozone Protection and Synthetic GHG
  • Vehicle stamp duty
  • Vehicle import duty
  • Luxury Car tax
  • Other

70 Environmental taxes have been produced in respect of the following industries; and households.
  • Agriculture, fisheries and forestry
  • Mining
  • Manufacturing
  • Electricity, gas, water and waste services
  • Construction
  • Transport
  • Commercial and services

Further information on environmental taxes

71 Estimates of environmental taxes contained in the AEEA follow the concepts, sources and methods set out in Discussion Paper: Environmental Taxes in Australia - Experimental new statistics, 2000-2011 (cat. no. 4629.0.55.001).


72 Land is a unique environmental asset that delineates the space in which economic activities and environmental processes take place. Land accounts cover the total area of a country, including areas covered by inland water resources, such as rivers and lakes.

73 While a range of different types of land accounts can be prepared, the core land accounts relate to land use and land cover.

74 Land use reflects both (i) the activities undertaken and (ii) the institutional arrangements put in place; for a given area for the purposes of economic production, or the maintenance and restoration of environmental functions (SEEA Central Framework, paragraph 5.246).

75 Land cover refers to the observed physical and biological cover of the Earth’s surface and includes natural vegetation and abiotic (non-living) surfaces (SEEA Central Framework, paragraph 5.257).

76 Experimental land accounts for land cover and land use have been prepared for the states of Victoria and Queensland, and within these there are data presented for: natural resource management (NRM) regions; interim biogeographic regional areas (IBRA); and Statistical Areas Level 4 (SA4).

Further information on land cover

77 Estimates of land cover change contained in the AEEA are sourced from Geoscience Australia. For further information on Australia's Dynamic Land Cover Dataset please see <>.


ABS publications


78 Towards the Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts (AEEA) uses a themes-based presentation to showcase the range of ABS environmental accounts. The publication provides a depth of commentary to explain environmental accounts and to describe their potential to inform environmental policy decisions. It is a prelude to the initial release of the annual Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts publication.


79 Completing the picture: environmental accounting in practice was released on 10 May 2012. This publication examines a number of complex issues facing policy makers in Australia, such as climate change and natural resource management, and illustrates how environmental accounts can be used to further improve the decision-making process. It also includes a range of accounts, based on the SEEA, that highlight the various interactions between the environment and economy.

WATER ACCOUNT, AUSTRALIA 2011-12 (cat. no. 4610.0)

80 The 2011-12 edition of Water Account, Australia (WAA) was released on 13 November 2013. This publication presents information on the supply and use of water in the Australian economy in 2011-12 in both physical (i.e. volumetric) and monetary terms. The focus of WAA is on the interactions between users within the economy and the environment.

ENERGY ACCOUNT, AUSTRALIA 2011-12 (cat. no. 4604.0)

81 The 2011-12 edition of Energy Account, Australia was released on 26 November 2013. This publication presents information on energy intensity and on the supply and use of energy in the Australian economy for 2011-12 in both physical (i.e. joules) and monetary terms.


82 The 2013 edition of Waste Account, Australia, Experimental Estimates was released on 19 February 2013. It provides tables showing experimental data on the generation and disposal of waste to landfills or to recycling facilities, the supply of recycled materials in the economy and related financial flows.


83 Market based instruments are widely used by governments to drive change in socioeconomic behaviour and taxation is a typical example of such market based instruments. This discussion paper, released on 13 December 2012, elaborates and proposes the development of a body of statistics on environmental taxes for Australia. The paper provides information on environmental taxes in Australia and a comparison with concurrent work being conducted by the OECD.


84 The 2013 edition of Land Account, Queensland, Experimental Estimates was released on 28 August 2013. It provides data in the form of statistical tables as well as spatial format. Statistical tables record land use classified by land cover. The account combines Google Earth® with data for each of the 11,039 Statistical Area Level 1 (SA1) areas in Queensland. It also provides an SA1 socio-economic spatial layer in tab delimited text, MapInfo and ESRI Geodatabase formats. These enable users to overlay the socio-economic layer with other bio-physical layers (e.g. soil condition, elevation and slope) to undertake further analysis.


85 The 2011-12 edition of Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production, 2011-12 was released on 3 October 2013. This publication presents information on Gross Value of Irrigated Agricultural Production (GVIAP), by type of agricultural product, for Australia, the States and Territories and the Murray-Darling Basin, as well as by Natural Resource Management (NRM) area. Estimates of Gross Value of Agricultural Production (GVAP) are also provided.

Non-ABS publications


86 The National Water Account is produced annually by the Bureau of Meteorology. It provides a picture of water resources management for the previous financial year for nine nationally significant water regions: Adelaide, Canberra, Daly, Melbourne, Murray-Darling Basin, Ord, Perth, South East Queensland and Sydney. It discloses information about water stores and flows, water rights and water use, as well as reporting on volumes of water traded, extracted and managed for economic, social, cultural and environmental benefits.


87 The Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIICCSRTE) produces the Australian National Greenhouse Accounts | National Inventory by Economic Sector on an annual basis. The publication provides information on national greenhouse gas emissions on a Kyoto accounting (territory) basis, disaggregated by ANZSIC industry.


88 The evolution of environmental accounting at the ABS began in 1996 with the publication of Natural Resource Accounting - Australian Energy Account, Australia (cat. no. 4604.0) and the Mineral Account, Australia (cat. no. 4608.0). Since then the development of the accounts at the ABS has been assisted through partnerships and consultations with various agencies, including the: Bureau of Meteorology; Department of the Environment; Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industry; Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines; Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists; United Kingdom’s Office of National Statistics and Department of Food and Regional Affairs; Statistics Canada; Statistics Netherlands; Statistics Sweden; European Environment Agency; OECD; United Nations Statistical Division and the World Bank. In addition valuable input has been provided by a range of academics from: the Australian National University; Monash University; Queensland University; University of Melbourne; and University of Sydney.

1 SNA’s 'subsoil assets' fall within the SEEA category of 'mineral and energy resources' <back
2 Australian National Accounts: Tourism Satellite Account (cat. no. 5249.0) <back

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